Five Reasons the Emmys are the Worst

Okay…The title of this post may be a little hyperbolic, but let’s call a spade a spade: The 2013 Emmy nominations (which were announced yesterday) weren’t exactly exciting. In fact, they left many (myself included) disappointed. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up for the majority of my favorite shows and actors getting nominations, but that should be part of the fun of nomination day. But I guess “fun” and “nomination day” are two words that only go together for the Critics’ Choice Television Awards.

Over at Media Through a Mom’s Eyes, you’ll find some great reactions and analysis of the Emmy nominees, especially in the dramatic categories. Here, I just want to point out five reasons I’m convinced the Emmys are out-of-touch with what’s actually going on in the world of television.

1. I don’t love you, and I don’t like you. Once again, Parks and Recreation was left out of the running for Best Comedy, with only Amy Poehler securing a nomination in a category which I’m sure she’ll be overlooked in once again. I’ve grown sadly jaded about Parks and Rec’s chances of ever getting nominated again, but I really thought they stood a chance this season. While it wasn’t the strongest season overall, it had two of its most compelling episodes ever with “Halloween Surprise” and “Ben and Leslie.” To see such a heartfelt, well-acted, genuinely funny television show go without any recognition (beyond its fabulous leading lady) continues to break my heart and make me wonder what exactly voters are looking for. If you don’t love Parks and Rec, I don’t think you’re the kind of person I want to know—or the kind of awards show I want to watch.

2. No love for New Girl. I wasn’t expecting New Girl to be nominated for Best Comedy, but to see the entire cast left out of the nominations was something I wasn’t prepared for. I definitely thought Max Greenfield was a shoo-in again this season, and I think Zooey Deschanel deserved some recognition for the nuanced and hilarious work she did with some great storylines. But the biggest shock to me was the snub of Jake Johnson. He was one of the best actors in any genre of television this season, and a lot of critics seem to agree with that statement. What he did with the incredible character arc Nick Miller got this season was nothing short of extraordinary. Johnson was one of the best things about television as a whole this season, and I cannot comprehend how the voters were unable to see that.

3. She plays seven roles and gets zero nominations. I don’t even watch Orphan Black (and I know I should!), but even I know the biggest snub of this year’s Emmy nominations was Tatiana Maslany. The woman played seven complex roles this season and apparently did it all with ease. If that’s not impressive enough to warrant an Emmy nomination, then I’m not sure what is. I know the show is a BBC program and is considered sci-fi, but those things shouldn’t matter when it comes to a performance as respected and recognized throughout the industry as this one. I may be frustrated with a lot of this year’s snubs, but this is the one that left me shaking my head the most.

4. The wrong choices from the right shows. In some cases, I was left to wonder if the voters picked the more famous or more respected cast members from certain shows instead of the best ones. For example, I adore Connie Britton, but it was obvious to me that Hayden Panettiere is the better half of their rivalry on Nashville. She had the most compelling storylines and the meatiest scenes to cut her teeth on, and I thought she did a fantastic job playing all of the facets to her very damaged character.

On Game of Thrones (which I was thrilled to see nominated for so many awards), I was happy to see Emilia Clarke’s name among the nominees for Best Supporting Actress, but Michelle Fairley’s name should have been there as well. Yes, the “Dracarys!” scene was incredible, but the most memorable and powerful moment of the season was the Red Wedding—and that was all because of Fairley. If Clarke could get nominated for that one moment, then the same should have happened for Fairley and that chilling final image of Catelyn Stark. In addition, voters seemed to stick with what they knew in terms of the male performances on Game of Thrones. Obviously Peter Dinklage is a great Tyrion Lannister, but he wasn’t given much to do this season. On the other hand, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau spent this season on an emotional and physical journey that had audiences hanging on his every word and changing their minds about Jaime Lannister with every look he gave and every action of his onscreen. The fact that this man made the famous “bath scene” ring painfully true for even the most skeptical viewers speaks to how much he deserved a nomination.

5. Same old, same old. I feel like I could have predicted these exact nominations before they were announced—and not because I feel like the nominees were necessarily the best in their category. Emmy voters like to nominate (and give the awards to) people they’ve previously honored or at least nominated. There’s very little turnover or new blood each year, and that’s disappointing. I get frustrated when actors who play characters who are essentially the same year in and year out get recognized again and again. We know they’re great, but maybe it’s time for someone else to have a turn. These awards—more than any other—feel like an exclusive club where you have to already be a member to get an invite to the party. And that makes the whole thing a lot less fun for those of us playing along at home.


18 thoughts on “Five Reasons the Emmys are the Worst

  1. And that’s why I won’t watch it this year. It was an insult to television fans, really. I know, they don’t care about us, but they should.
    I’m really happy because I’m starting to really get tv shows, since I thought the exact same things as you did (except for Parks and Recreation, a show still on my “to watch” list – please don’t hate me). I felt almost hurt by the fact that Jake Johnson wasn’t nominated. I thought even Lamorne deserved a nomination more than Max this year, not that he isn’t good, he is great, but he had no chance to shine, like Jake, and Lamorne was able to be funny with very little screen time.
    Tatiana was the greatest snub ever. She is AMAZING. No argument here.
    About Game of Thrones, the snubbing of Nikolaj felt worse than Michelle’s.
    Also, many of my friends think (and by their arguments, I agree) that Hannibal should have been nominated at least for technical categories and Jennifer Carpenter should have been nominated too.

    • I completely agree with your thoughts about Hannibal. I don’t watch it either but I know people who do, and they have made very convincing arguments for why it should have been nominated for at least something. It feels as if “genre” shows aren’t “good enough” for Emmy voters, and that bothers me because some of the best work on television is done on those kinds of shows.

  2. The Emmy’s and all Award shows are very Political and is not good representation of who is really the best. I have boycotted these shows for years and will again due to Stana Katic not being nominated. They don’t know a great actress when they see one.

    • It bothers me to see so many great performers overlooked because their shows aren’t in the small group of shows deemed good enough by Emmy voters.

  3. so agree with your distaste at Parks & Rec and New Girl being snubbed…in favor of what, Modern Family? And also, Emmys, like, we get it, Breaking Bad is good and everyone in it is good. Can we move on now?

    • Here’s the thing, I don’t mind shows like Breaking Bad getting nominated year over year when they are putting out great programming which BB is . I get cranky when shows like The Good Wife, The Americans et al get passed over for Mad Men which had an AWFUL season. I love Connie Britton but her brilliance on Friday Night Lights shouldn’t make her an automatic slot, certainly not in place of Keri Russell or Tatiana Maslany. That’s the laziness that makes me cranky. Same for comedy. I don’t want New Girl but I know well about Johnson’s tour de force performance. Just makes me cranky.

  4. Yes, yes, yes and thank you for the blog shoutout. Independent of the politics of it, I just feel like the academy members who nominate don’t watch/follow their own industry. It’s lazy at best, ignorant at worst. I don’t think they got everything wrong, but there were such glaring mistakes – as wonderfully outlined in you 5 points and within my own rant on my blog. I also think Entertainment Weekly hit the nail on the head when they said ‘If Orphan Black was on HBO Tatiana Maslany would have been more likely to receive a nomination’. I think Breaking Bad is amazing and should be nominated, because they had a great season. Mad Men, Downton Abbey and Homeland did not. The Good Wife had a great season and is absent. I don’t think time on television should matter, but that the quality of the performances and content should stand on their own. That’s won’t ever happen, but that is what I would hope the academy would look at over the haul. The bias against ‘lesser networks’ in the major categories is glaring. With the exception of Louie C.K. F/X shows got completely ignored I could talk for days about Justified and The Americans. Yet Top of Lake over on Sundance did well, because it was in the movie/mini series category. I remain cranky, but will be gluttonous when September rolls around and watch anyway, just like I do with the Academy Awards every year.

    • “I remain cranky, but will be gluttonous when September rolls around and watch anyway, just like I do with the Academy Awards every year.”

      I’m the exact same way. I complain, but I’ll always watch. I love TV and (celebrity-watching) too much to give up on the Emmys.

      And YES to your thoughts about The Good Wife being left out when other shows had sub-par seasons. I’ll admit that The Good Wife went down in quality last season, but this season was a true return to form. And I totally agree with your sentiment about Orphan Black being nominated if it was on HBO. Smaller networks get overlooked time and time again with the Emmys, and that’s just not fair.

  5. I feel personally offended by the number of great shows snubbed this year – Hannibal, Rectify, Orphan Black, Rectify (did I say that already?). The Americans, THE GOOD WIFE!!! Ugh, 1000% done with the Emmys (my doneness may decrease exponentially over time but still, totes done!)

    • The sheer number of great shows overlooked this year seems worse to me than ever. It means great things about the quality of television, but not-so-great things about the ability of Emmy voters to recognize how far-reaching that quality is.

  6. I’m still annoyed by the nominations. There are a lot of shows and actors that I wish would have been nominated but had their shows ignored all together, which makes me mad but is slightly more understandable to me, considering the overwhelming amount of worthy contenders (and was more predictable, given the way that this award show ignores smaller networks and lesser known stars).

    Now, I think I’m most annoyed by what you mentioned in point 4. For Game of Thrones especially, they chose the wrong actor and actress. NCW had the best performance of any of the men this season (Charles Dance would have been my second choice but he didn’t submit). It just wasn’t Tyrion’s strongest season, even though I love Peter Dinklage’s performance of him. I also completely agree about Michelle Fairley.

    I was happy that Christine Baranski got a supporting actress nomination for The Good Wife and Carrie Preston got a guest star nomination as well. They were my favorite parts of The Good Wife this season.

    • First of all, I totally agree about Charles Dance—he’s incredible and would have been my second choice too. I really hope he submits next season because he has some GREAT stuff coming up! 😉 I’m not sure I’m ever going to forgive them for overlooking NCW. What that man was able to do with such a complex and fascinating character arc this season was some of the best acting I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I really thought he had a chance, and I usually try to keep my expectations at bay for these kinds of things.

      And as a fellow Christine Baranski lover, I am thrilled to see her nominated. She’s one of the actors I’ll be rooting for the most when the actual ceremony airs.

  7. Pingback: My Advice for Emmy Voters | Nerdy Girl Notes

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